Neuchâtel Announced as Ville du Goût 2017

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The Château and Collégiale of Neuchâtel

With the completion of the 16th annual Semaine du Goût in Switzerland last week, comes the announcement that the city of Neuchâtel has earned the title of “Ville du Goût” for next year. As an ambassador of this nationwide food festival, Neuchâtel will host its closing ceremonies. Looking forward to 2017, I am sharing a preview of several culinary specialties from this French-speaking city, located on the shores of its eponymous lake and at the foothills of the Jura mountains.

What is the Semaine du Goût?

La Semaine du Goût (French)
Die Genusswoche (German)
La Settimana del Gusto (Italian)
The Week of Taste (English)

Since 2001, Switzerland has hosted a Semaine du goût each year, which highlights regional food products and promotes sustainable practices related to health and the environment. This year, it was held from September 15-25, 2016, and the town of Liestal in the canton of Basel-Landschaft was the Ville du Goût. Approximately 380,000 people participated in activities associated with the Semaine du goût in 2016.

Throughout Switzerland, you can attend different events during the “Week of Taste,” like special meals, markets, workshops and much more. Along with lots of opportunities to taste and learn about delicious Swiss foods, the event has an educational component as well, to increase awareness of traditional foods and nutritional eating habits, among others.

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Cover of this year’s La Magazine du Goût. Image courtesy of Semaine du Goût® 2016.

For a more detailed description of the goals of the Semaine du Goût, with an association that’s based in Lausanne, you can refer to its charter, approved in January 2016. In addition, you can view a current copy and past editions of La Magazine du Goût online.

What are some of Neuchâtel’s culinary specialties?

As a resident of the canton of Neuchâtel, I have become familiar with many of the culinary specialties from this region over the last four years. Of course, some of the foods that I associate with this city are also popular in other parts of Suisse-Romande. Therefore, to identify some of the food products that originated specifically in Neuchâtel, I consulted the directory of Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse.

The list that follows is by no means comprehensive, and others could certainly be added, like the local Oeil-de-Perdix wine or Tripes à la neuchâteloise, Taillaule neuchâteloise and Tomme neuchâteloise. And, the list below only includes those foods within the directory identified as solely being from the canton of Neuchâtel. I predict that many of these could be featured during the Semaine du Goût 2017

Absinthe: Also known as the Green Fairy and other various nicknames, like the Milk of Val-de-Travers, this highly alcoholic beverage turns cloudy when you add water. I like using it to make cake.

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Batz neuchâtelois: Taken from the name of an ancient coin, these chocolate pralines were created in 1948 to mark the centennial of the canton’s entry into the Swiss confederation.

Eaux-de-vie de prunes neuchâteloises: An eau-de-vie or schnaps made from plums.

Gâteau aux noisettes: A tart made with ground hazelnuts and a shortcrust pastry and topped with a thin layer of icing.

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Jambon cuit dans l’asphalte: At the asphalt mines in Val-de-Travers, cooking ham in a bath of asphalt is a tradition. I tried it last year, and you can read my full report here.

jambon in asphalt

Pain aux noix: A yeasted bread made with walnuts that was developed by a baker from Neuchâtel.

Pain de Pâques: Prepared for the Easter holiday, this yeasted brioche is similar to tresse, but it’s not braided.

Pain neuchâtelois: Made with mi-blanche flour (half white, half whole wheat), two large balls of yeasted dough are pressed together and baked. These two pieces are then separated and sold individually.

Saucisson neuchâtelois: A smoked pork sausage that’s one of my children’s favorite foods.


Semaine du Go
ût 2017

The full program for the Semaine du Goût 2017, including events taking place in Neuchâtel, will be unveiled in February 2017.

In the meantime, this fall you can attend the first event related to the city’s status as the Ville du Goût. On November 27, a vernissage will take place in the evening for a new exhibition at Neuchâtel‘s Musée d’Histoire Naturelle. “Manger, la mécanique du ventre” (Eating, the mechanics of the stomach) will focus on the topic of digestion.

In my opinion, the Semaine du Goût always offers a diverse and interesting line-up of events, year after year. I’m sure 2017 will be no different, and I look forward to learning more about what’s being planned for Neuchâtel in its new role as Ville du Goût!

What culinary specialties from Neuchâtel would you like to see featured at next year’s Semaine du Goût? Which ones am I missing from my list? Please leave a comment below or send me an email, if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

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